Short of having your holiday cards delivered to your loved ones by Hedwig herself, Harry Potter-themed stamps — released last week by the United States Postal Service — are obviously the most magical way to send a message.
The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, however, disagrees. Strongly.
The organization of stamp enthusiasts has spent nearly sixty years advising the Postal Service on new stamp designs, and has made it very clear that it did not approve of the Potter postage.
“Harry Potter is not American. It’s foreign, and it’s so blatantly commercial it’s off the charts,” said John Hotchner, a former president of the American Philatelic Society, who served on the committee for 12 years until 2010. “The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that’s not what stamps ought to be about. Things that don’t sell so well are part of the American story.”
The thing is, a nearly-bankrupt Postal Service is also part of the American story, so the powers that be ignored the committee’s patriotic protests and went ahead with the wizardly designs. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said he chose a more commercial subject in order to offset declines in revenue. After all, no money = no Postal Service, and no Postal Service = no collectible stamps. So, give a little to get a little, right?